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Take-Two: Don't like GTA? Don't buy it

By Brendan Sinclair

Take-Two: Don't like GTA? Don't buy it

Tue 09 Dec 2014 5:15pm GMT / 12:15pm EST / 9:15am PST
BusinessPublishing

Karl Slatoff says push to stop sale of Grand Theft Auto V "flies in the face of everything that free society is based on"

When a pair of Australian retailers removed Grand Theft Auto V from their shelves in response to a consumer petition last week, Take-Two Interactive chairman and CEO released a measured statement expressing his disappointment in the decision. In a presentation at BMO Capital Markets 2014 Technology & Digital Media Conference today, Take-Two president Karl Slatoff was a little more animated with his reaction.

"We have 34 million people who bought Grand Theft Auto, and if these folks had their way, none of those people would be able to buy Grand Theft Auto."

"It's one thing for someone to not want to buy a piece of content, which is completely understandable," Slatoff said. "And that's really the solution. If you don't like it and it's offensive to you, then you don't buy it. But for a person or a group of people to try to make that decision for millions of people... We have 34 million people who bought Grand Theft Auto, and if these folks had their way, none of those people would be able to buy Grand Theft Auto. And that really just flies in the face of everything that free society is based on. It's the freedom of expression, and to try to squelch that is a dangerous and slippery slope to go down. So it's really more disappointing for us in that regard than it is in the context of our business. Our business is going to be completely unaffected by this; it doesn't make a difference to us. At the end of the day though, it's not something you want because it's a poor leadership decision."

Slatoff's remarks came in response to a question about whether the removal of the game from some store shelves had led to an uptick in digital adoption in the country. Slatoff said "the Australia situation is disappointing on many levels," but noted that the publisher hasn't seen any such change in customer habits.

"Australia is relatively small for us, and two retailers are relatively small in the context of Australia," Slatoff said. "There are other places for folks to buy Grand Theft Auto in Australia."

Slatoff was also asked about Sony's recent hacking woes, and whether the industry's continued struggles with hackers were any threat to the growth of digital distribution. While Slatoff described them as incidents he wouldn't wish on any of Take-Two's competitors, he called hacking "a reality of life" when dealing with connected networks.

"[I]t would take an incredible groundswell, something of biblical proportions would have to happen to thwart the consumers' enthusiasm to participate in these networks and transact online."

"We hear about these things all the time, and I think to a certain degree, you start to become desensitized to it, because you understand as a consumer that there's always a risk," Slatoff said. "And it's not just a Sony issue; it's any online connected environment. We see it with online retailers and we see it with physical retailers. But it's obviously an area where people are--I don't want to say they're becoming more comfortable with the risk of what happens if someone hacks and gets hold of my information--but they're certainly becoming more exposed to it. And I think it would take an incredible groundswell, something of biblical proportions would have to happen to thwart the consumers' enthusiasm to participate in these networks and transact online in any given way. So I see these things as speed bumps; I don't see them as brick walls."

Take-Two is certainly planning on digital revenues to be an increasingly important part of its business in the future. One of the publisher's key strategies going forward is to provide deep content with its original releases, but supplement those with a wealth of meaningful downloadable content--some free, some paid--that will keep people engaged and drive "recurrent consumer spending," Take-Two's phrasing for all digital revenues beyond an initial full-game download.

"It really has to be something they value, and that's something that is a very strong focus of our company," Slatoff said. "It's becoming more and more important to us, and I would like to say that on every release at one point in the future that we've got some sort of recurrent consumer spending strategy around every single release. I can't say that today, but we're getting there."

From GamesIndustry.biz Recommendations by Taboola

53 Comments

Jessica Hyland Artist, Turbulenz Limited

458 2,038 4.4
Popular Comment
I am continually disappointed by Rockstar's refusal to engage with why this petition happened and why Target and K-Mart were so quick to accede to it. Falling back on the much-vaunted 'freedom of expression' above all else without examining how and why this 'expression' hurts real people is laziness.

But sadly, they're right. It won't have much impact on their profits, so who really cares? Apparently not Rockstar.

Posted:A year ago

#1

Aleksi Ranta Product Manager - Hardware

368 266 0.7
So the game depicts violence towards women. But also doesnt minecraft do the same for example?
I hacked a character to pieces in minecraft for wearing a pink shirt, maybe it was a man, maybe a woman. who knows.
But i think the keyword here is depict. "represent by a drawing, painting, or other art form."

Posted:A year ago

#2

Aleksi Ranta Product Manager - Hardware

368 266 0.7
Jessica......when does a pixelated blob in for example minecraft become highly detailed enough to cause this outcry?
What needs to be the resolution of the image to portray an almost lifelike woman on screen, bearing in mind we are talking about something that is not real.

Posted:A year ago

#3

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,976 2,267 1.1
And that really just flies in the face of everything that free society is based on.
Capitalist free market economy does not equal free society.

Just sayin'.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 9th December 2014 6:01pm

Posted:A year ago

#4

Anthony Chan

138 171 1.2
I did find the story of Target removing GTA5 from shelves kind of silly. While I side with Jessica on some issues - specifically on harassment to everybody (not just women), I must say censorship does not and should not affect creativity. The fact is: GTA is a dark, seedy, and in some cases extreme reflection of society. There is a market for GTA, because there is a concensus that doing things you can't do in RL is fun. If that means society wants to bludgeon a prostitute to death over and over inside a game, then why should we try to change that? What is our real purpose?

The problem is that the main issue of violence against women is larger than video games and this kind of publicity or advocacy does not help the cause. These advocacy groups find ways to remedy the satellite problems, but I wonder if they know in doing so they are not actually making progress. For some reason, many groups feel if we eliminate a mindset from art, social media, school playgrounds, etc; the problem goes away altogether. But it doesn't. Violent people who feel a certain way towards a race or a gender or a group, still feel that way regardless if there are mediums to reflect it.

If we want to resolve the issue of violence against women, we should start by remedying the social mindset - without censorship. Ideally we need to get to the root of the problem. We need to educate kids in school early on about equality and respect and that movies and games are not real. We need to help kids who see violence on a daily basis. If we could just tidy up one generation of the young, we would not need to censor.

Art was always meant as an outlet to experience things we normally cannot. Censorship at this point (when the problem is already so engrained in society) will only drive the "bad apples" to seek censored material with greater vigor - like telling a 12 year old that they cannot watch restricted films.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Anthony Chan on 9th December 2014 6:42pm

Posted:A year ago

#5

Chris Reeves 2D Artist, 4J Studios

14 55 3.9
Jessica......when does a pixelated blob in for example minecraft become highly detailed enough to cause this outcry?
What needs to be the resolution of the image to portray an almost lifelike woman on screen, bearing in mind we are talking about something that is not real.
Real enough to get 40,000 people to petition against the sale of a game which directly rewards the player for violence against female escorts.

Also you realise there is a big difference between highly abstracted hitting of creepers (or indeed block-people wearing pink shirts) with a sword and graphic depictions of violence against women, who don't or can't fight back, an entire gender of which are represented in GTA5 as naught more than nagging hysterical window dressing, straw-feminists and breasts to stare at?

Big difference, huuuuuge difference.

And for what it's worth I enjoy the game! It's still problematic as hell though.

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Chris Reeves on 9th December 2014 6:53pm

Posted:A year ago

#6

Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend

510 1,208 2.4
I agree with Rockstar on this and also liked the Total Biscuit analysis of the article surrounding the petition, for those that are interested; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rze-TEJJpYs&list=UUy1Ms_5qBTawC-k7PVjHXKQ

He says it better than I could.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Darren Adams on 9th December 2014 7:05pm

Posted:A year ago

#7

Anthony Gowland Consulting F2P Game Designer, Ant Workshop

313 1,362 4.4
Popular Comment
Pretty sure "free society" also means that shops get to decide what they want to stock as well.
"Your customers don't like GTA? Don't sell it!"

Posted:A year ago

#8

Kenny Lynch Community Rep/Moderator

87 296 3.4
Tired of this now.

A retailer in NZ removed GTA and all R18 DVD and games (to prevent staff having to pick out individual titles that went too far for their brand as they considered GTA did) before any petition. The petition only asked for the game to be removed from Target, not censored or banned. Kmart didn't copy Target and say it was about what their customers wanted, but that they had looked at the content and decided it was inappropriate for their stores.

If people had called for the game to be banned (and I am sure a lot if not most of the signatories on the petition would like that) then you can talk about a free society. Criticising people's right to complain or not stock the game is against a free society not for it.

This really ignores the two issues that I see - what do sex workers feel about the game (not necessarily very important in the whole scheme of things, but wouldn't it nice to at least acknowledge them?) and what happens if more retailers decide not to stock violent games?

But yeah whatever, censorship, they are taking away our fun, these folks are undemocratic, undermining our free society....

Posted:A year ago

#9

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

1,219 2,667 2.2
Popular Comment
Falling back on the much-vaunted 'freedom of expression' above all else without examining how and why this 'expression' hurts real people is laziness.
No, the lazy part is trotting out "somebody think of the children" all the time when there's something you don't like. Show me some non-laziness and go show a single concrete example where playing GTA V caused someone to do harm to any woman, let alone a prostitute. No really, please go right ahead. Or are you too lazy to find out?

Personally I find the whole franchise to be very seedy and not my cup of tea at all. So I don't buy them. It's not my business to stop anyone else buying them though so I keep my peace. Peace would be good if you've nothing constructive to add.

Posted:A year ago

#10

Caleb Hale Journalist

175 284 1.6
A free society is free to boycott anything it pleases. A free market allows a retailer to sell or not sell anything it pleases. As long as the suppression isn't being applied under the force of a government body, there's really no offense to the freedoms of anyone, since all parties involved have very little impact on the purchasing decisions of an individual.

Posted:A year ago

#11

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

1,219 2,667 2.2
Popular Comment
The suppression is coming from a small minority of whiners who have misrepresented their cause to attract more petitioners. That this actually works bothers me far more than the government doing something similar. The Oz government already approved this game, so maybe they should save their ire to be expressed at the next election. That's how democracy is meant to work. Not this mob rule shit.

Posted:A year ago

#12

Taylan Kay Senior Game Desginer, Nerd Corps Entertainment

63 113 1.8
That's how democracy is meant to work.
Not really, no. Democracy is not just about showing up at the ballot box once every five years. That "mob rule shit" is precisely how a democracy works; people expressing their will with their own voice.
a small minority of whiners who have misrepresented their cause to attract more petitioners.
Incidentally, that is also how opinions work in a democracy. People decide for themselves and take sides, for better or worse, based on information they are presented with. Not happy with that? Well, that's democracy for you. You can always vote for a party that would make it illegal to dissent.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Taylan Kay on 9th December 2014 10:50pm

Posted:A year ago

#13

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

1,219 2,667 2.2
They can express their will all they like. That's not what happened here. If you can't see the difference I'm flogging a dead horse.

And as for your mention of "based on information they are presented with", go read that petition. It has no accurate statement in it. TotalBiscuits video linked above has the detail, expressed without an ounce of bias.

"A minority got their way over the majority" seems to be your counter to my call for democracy. I'll take my notion of it over that tbh

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 9th December 2014 10:57pm

Posted:A year ago

#14

Shane Sweeney Academic

494 585 1.2
I don't care if Target removed 50 Shades of Grey or GTA5 because they incorrectly think both are pushing Nazism. They are also free to be incorrect.

There is 1000s of retailers who *are* selling GTA5, that should be the headline. The game is amazing, and we just need to focus on rewarding those who do sell it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Shane Sweeney on 10th December 2014 12:29am

Posted:A year ago

#15

Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design

338 779 2.3
Popular Comment
I have no issues with the company removing GTA5. I have issues with those who signed such a petition to begin with. It's really uncalled for. If you find a game offensive and have no plans on buying it, why petition to remove it from a store? Your not planning on buying it to begin with, which means the only reason you would want it removed is so others can't buy it there. For what purpose exactly?

To raise awareness? On what exactly? It's a piece of media that just so happens to depict something bad, as if it's never been done before. As if it causes some sort of issue. That's like petitioning a book being sold in a store because you just happen to know there is a scene in the book someone told you about that happened to depict something that offends you. Do people really think doing something like this is ok?

I would understand petitioning something that is forced on you. Say there was a GTA5 poster on all the windows at target that depicted something that offends you. That is reasonable and I can understand that to petition for the posters to be removed.

Again, to petition something to stop being sold though is absurd.It's not in your face. No one is forcing you to look at it. No one is forcing you to buy it and no one is forcing you to play it. So what is the problem exactly? That others can buy it?

Posted:A year ago

#16

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

1,112 1,215 1.1
Exactly what @Anthony said up there. I know a good number of video shops in Spain that don't sell ultra-violent movies by personal choice, the same way that this shop does not want to sell GTAV. What I do with gore movies? I just go to the other shop, down the street. Problem solved.

Is this such a big drama? being forced to buy in another place? The meme "First world problems" comes to mind as the main explanation for it.

Posted:A year ago

#17

Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design

338 779 2.3
@Alfonso
The issue is the store didn't just stop selling GTA5 simply because it was ultra-violent. It's fine when a store makes it clear they will not sell that kind of stuff at all. That is perfectly reasonable. However, in this case .. .that isn't the reason they stopped selling it. They stopped selling it because there was a petition.

This is like saying it's ok to petition everything you find offensive. As I said above, I don't care what the store chooses to do. I do care about the reasons behind it though.

It's a big drama because it's simply not right to force your ideals on other people. If you find something offensive, then don't buy it. Why petition it so others can't buy it as well?

In the end what exactly did it solve?

Posted:A year ago

#18

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

1,219 2,667 2.2
"First world problems" comes to mind as the main explanation for it.
The meme that this situation brings to my mind is slightly different: "My problems should be your problems".

Posted:A year ago

#19

Lawrence Newman Studying BSc Brewing & Distilling, Heriot-Watt University

2 3 1.5
Deleted by a moderator.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by a moderator on 10th December 2014 11:48am

Posted:A year ago

#20

Carl Hudson Studying Computer Science, University of Adelaide

71 86 1.2
Just when I thought Rockstar *wouldnt care* about their game being unstocked from two of Australia biggest retail chains, the CEO feels compelled to release a Press Release in response :) Humans never cease to amaze me :) The more publicity and open discussion on these types of murder sims, the more impact it will have for the next purchasing rounds of them.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Carl Hudson on 10th December 2014 11:56am

Posted:A year ago

#21

Dan Pearson European Editor, GamesIndustry.biz

147 463 3.1
Lawrence, if you really can't see the difference between page 3 and breast-feeding then I hold little hope for you, frankly.

Posted:A year ago

#22

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,430 1,760 1.2
Considering the amount and type of badmouthing, it sounds more like higher profit margins being denied and people descending to cheap shots.

Posted:A year ago

#23

Carl Hudson Studying Computer Science, University of Adelaide

71 86 1.2
@Paul
Whether you're a minority (a whiner as you put it) or a majority.. doesn't necessarily make you right, .. nor does it mean your opinion isn't valid. Nor does it mean you should, or shouldn't, have any power over change.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Carl Hudson on 10th December 2014 12:06pm

Posted:A year ago

#24

Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend

510 1,208 2.4
@Dan

I read Lawrence's comment and I am not 100% sure you should have deleted the whole thing. Sure, some things were opinionated and caustic, but I may have just removed parts of it that were a bit OTT and called him out on it. Though saying that my work colleague and I did notice that this was his first post on the site and was probably posted to get a reaction.

It is a fine line between appearing to allow people to express opinion and shutting down comments that are felt to be a bit extreme. Tricky decision to make sometimes...

Posted:A year ago

#25

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

1,219 2,667 2.2
@Carl. There's no such thing as a "valid" opinion, just an opinion.

As a percentage, how much of your life should be controllable by my own personal opinion?
I'm guessing none, right? Expand...

Posted:A year ago

#26

Carl Hudson Studying Computer Science, University of Adelaide

71 86 1.2
" The suppression is coming from a small minority of whiners who have misrepresented their cause to attract more petitioners. "

Sounds to me, a lot like you're implying their opinion isn't a valid one.

Obviously it was, and is, a valid one as two major retail corporations agreed with them and the CEO of the problem came out and made a press release in response to the product withdrawal from shelves.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Carl Hudson on 10th December 2014 12:36pm

Posted:A year ago

#27

Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design

338 779 2.3
@Carl

Whether or not we agree or disagree with their opinion is besides the point. Their opinion should have no barrings on whether or not a retailer should or shouldn't sell a particular game. If they don't like it, they have the right not to buy it. There should have been absolutely no reason to have even done a petition. Despite others being able to go to other shops to buy the game doesn't change the fact that now there are 2 less shops they can go to, simply because some people where offended by something they never even plan to buy or play. They certainly have a right to their own opinion, but why should their opinion be forced onto others?

It really doesn't make any sense to me at all.

Posted:A year ago

#28

Dan Pearson European Editor, GamesIndustry.biz

147 463 3.1
@Darren Lawrence had made three inflammatory, unhelpful and borderline offensive comments immediately after signing up. He's also studying for a completely unrelated course to the industry, so doesn't meet our requirements as a poster anyway, which makes me think he's simply here to troll.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Dan Pearson on 10th December 2014 12:49pm

Posted:A year ago

#29

Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend

510 1,208 2.4
Only read the 1 comment and noticed it was his first post which was a bit close to the bone, but I didn't realise he had done 3 posts in quick succession. Oh for missing information!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Darren Adams on 10th December 2014 1:59pm

Posted:A year ago

#30

Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd

428 1,125 2.6
"Don't like it, don't buy it" is a rubbish argument, really. What is available to buy, where, and to whom is constantly influenced by what the public currently deems acceptable.

The voluntary rating system that publishers subscribe to in the US is a good example of this - an entente between publishers not to make anything that would warrant the "Adult Only" rating, and for retailers not to sell such titles. Effectively, self-censorship in the vein of the Comics Code designed to shield the industry from legislative intervention and maintain the status quo for major publishers, that has massively constrained the range of subject matter that can be tackled in commercial games. You don't see Take Two crying censorship about that, because it's designed to work in their favour.

I don't agree with the conceit that consuming media has damaging effects on society in the main, but we have to bear in mind that Australia only got an 18 certificate for games a few years ago, and it takes time for attitudes to shift.

Posted:A year ago

#31

Carl Hudson Studying Computer Science, University of Adelaide

71 86 1.2
@Brook
" Their opinion should have no bearings on whether or not a retailer should or shouldn't sell a particular game. " - You're joking right? Why are you saying their opinion is invalid in this case, whereby a retailer chose to agree with them and remove a title?

This ISNT about whether or not the public can or cannot buy a game..they can still buy the game no matter the outcome of the petition and/or the resulting opinion of the (two) national retailers to remove it from all their shelves across Australia.. This is about the opinions of those who started the petition and those who chose to sign it and finally the retailers who agreed with them (for whatever reason).

It's not about shutting down the game.. you can still buy it if you meet the Australian classification requirements.. and the game is SO OLD now that most people that wanted it have already played it and traded it in many months ago (even the latest rehash for current gen and PC are way past the peak buying/release period).

I think it's doing a good job of creating awareness about how some people are oblivious to what's in some of these murder-sim titles.. and if the publicity stops the title from being played by at least one child who shouldn't be playing due to lack of awareness on behalf of the parent (etc) then job well done I say..

Everyone wins if you ask me.. and no- ones opinions are being forced on anyone (name one person who can no longer buy the game if they wanted to?)

Edited 5 times. Last edit by Carl Hudson on 10th December 2014 1:16pm

Posted:A year ago

#32

David Canela Game & Audio Designer

95 198 2.1
Saying people are within their rights to start petitions and retailers are free to stock whatever they please is completely missing the point.

The real issue here is that the petition is completely misleading, misinformed, based on false assumptions. Without accurate information, however, democracy is a worthless farce, it becomes a mere populism contest. That's why a free, objective press is so fundamental to a functioning democracy and why ill-researched, sensationalist press is really harmful. As are mobs driven by very little information and lots of outrage.

I'm sure there's lots of problematic stuff that can be pointed out about the portrayal of women in GTAV. But the claims in the petition are baseless. I'd prefer if companies didn't get scared by outrage-mobs so quickly and stood up for accurate information a bit more, in the long run I believe that would be better for everyone.

Posted:A year ago

#33

Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design

338 779 2.3
@ Carl
You're joking right? Why are you saying their opinion is invalid in this case, whereby a retailer chose to agree with them and remove a title?
I didn't say their opinion was invalid, I said their opinion should have no barrings on whether or not a game should or shouldn't be sold in a store. Why should their opinion take presidence over anyone else's? The retailer may have chose to agree and take the game off the shelves, but that isn't the point, which you seem to be missing entirely. The point is, their opinion should have played no part in it.
This ISNT about whether or not the public can or cannot buy a game..they can still buy the game no matter the outcome of the petition and/or the resulting opinion of the (two) national retailers to remove it from all their shelves across Australia.. This is about the opinions of those who started the petition and those who chose to sign it and finally the retailers who agreed with them (for whatever reason).
Ya, the public can still buy the game, so what was the point of the petition? THAT in itself is my point. There was no reason for the petition to begin with.
I think it's doing a good job of creating awareness about how some people are oblivious to what's in some of these murder-sim titles.. and if the publicity stops the title from being played by at least one child who shouldn't be playing due to lack of awareness on behalf of the parent (etc) then job well done I say..
This has nothing to do with children, so not sure why you even mentioned it. The only way to stop children from playing a game, is not to remove it from stores, but to be better parents. Also, there are many better ways to raise awareness besides removing a game from shelves through petitions. Considering this entire story isn't even about that to begin with, I think this argument you made makes 0 sense.
Everyone wins if you ask me.. and no- ones opinions are being forced on anyone (name one person who can no longer buy the game if they wanted to?)
They can no longer buy the game from target or kmart. That to me is in itself a forced opinion even if you can still buy it elsewhere. There should be no reason at all why people shouldn't be able to buy the game at target or kmart. The simple fact of petitioning against those retailers selling the game, means they didn't want others buying it. There is absolutely no other reason to petition it.

Again .. you are missing the point entirely. My point is, they had no reason at all to petition against these retailers selling the game to begin with.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Brook Davidson on 10th December 2014 2:33pm

Posted:A year ago

#34

Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing

684 446 0.7
@Carl

An opinions s not valud when it is empirically false. Their statement is:

"It's a game that encourages players to murder women for entertainment. The incentive is to commit sexual violence against women, then abuse or kill them to proceed or get 'health' points and now Target are stocking it and promoting it for your Xmas stocking."

Nowhere are you required to kill women to proceed, and since prostitution is by definition consensual, they make the false statement as well that Target stocking it is a new thing.

This petition was written by an expert manipulator, because they know no one reads past the initial outrage. The second paragraph is written to give them cover, and carefully omits the fact that all of the above applies to every non-crucial NPC in the game. They grabbed a YouTube clip for selective outrage, and ignored the thousands of others featuring similar mayhem on a wide variety of races, creeds, colors and sexes.

They say that just knowing this is out there is offensive. At least unlike most people who want to ban things, they admit "change the channel" is bull

"

Games like this are grooming yet another generation of boys to tolerate violence against women. It is fuelling the epidemic of violence experienced by so many girls and women in Australia - and globally."

Again empirically false. Every single study, much to Jack Thompson and joe Lieberman's chagrin, whether funded by government, industry, or independent sources that has passed peer review has found that exposure to violent media does not make people violent. The only thing it has found is that already disturbed people tend to watch violent media

These women have not played the game, and in fact I'm guessing we're only made aware of it, or its contents quite recently. They watched some videos that understandably pushed their buttons, and it got picked up by the usual suspects and blasted all over.

Further examples of their general cluelessness:

"Target, you pride yourself on being a family company, caring for local communities, and have a strong ethical sourcing policy. How can you do this while contributing to hostile and callous attitudes toward victims of violence and, more broadly, to all women?"

Perhaps someone should take them on a field trip,to China sometime.

In any case, I guarantee you that GTA6 will be stocked in large quantity by Target Australia, hooker killing and all, with an official statement that they will rigorously enforce the ratings. They just don't expect to sell more GTAV that will add up to the perceived value of the publicity.

Something tells me that none of these women will be forced to sit down and play the game from start to finish (hooker killing optional!), or to be faced with the plethora of horrible things you can do to everyone and answer for it on camera.

So in summary, yes I will call them dishonest censoring whiners who believe that just because their buttons are pushed no one should get it. My mother dragged me to the snuff film Marley and Me, which features a solid hour of intense trauma for anyone who has ever lost a pet, advertised as a fun family movie. I didn't call for its ban, I just warned others they might not want to take their kids, or attend themselves. But I will also cite my reasoning from the experience of watching the film in full, not some out of context clips on YouTube I use to start an international incident. We don't ask retailers ban kitchen knives because they're occasionally used to stab people instead of chop veggies do we? I'll bet household items sold at Target have at least a 100:1 ratio of violent crimes they were used in, to GTA players who have committed a violent crime, inspired by the game or not.

Posted:A year ago

#35

Marty Greenwell Software Developer

57 40 0.7
"We don't ask retailers ban kitchen knives because they're occasionally used to stab people instead of chop veggies do we?"

Actually we do, which is why you can't buy them on UK eBay any more.

Posted:A year ago

#36

Michael Revis Freelance Writer

8 23 2.9
I am continually disappointed by Rockstar's refusal to engage with why this petition happened and why Target and K-Mart were so quick to accede to it. Falling back on the much-vaunted 'freedom of expression' above all else without examining how and why this 'expression' hurts real people is laziness.
Because Rockstar already made their money in every other region that's not filled with uptight jerks and governments that continually try to screw game companies over. Australia is considered a tertiary market for most companies simply because it's a lot harder to get a product out there without getting blocked for whatever reason, and the people over there come up with A LOT of stupid reasons.

Posted:A year ago

#37

Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor

432 281 0.7
I know that there is a reasonable issue to discuss here concerning free trade, free speech, consumer righteousness (on both sides) and social responsibility as part of a interwoven society.

On the other hand I'd like to point out that no one should feel sorry for Rockstar at all. The publicity alone has probably garnered more sales than they've lost. For me, Slatoff sounds like a hard-done-to brat.

Posted:A year ago

#38

Nelsun Rivera Mixed Media

29 25 0.9
You can just as easily beat, cut, kill, and dismember a male or female in GTAV. So that eliminates the singling out based on gender. I also wonder, are there any movies on Target or Kmart Australian shelves that have this type of material? Music? Things to think about.

Lastly, since this removal of an item was done based on a petition. What if someone created a petition for these stores to RESTOCK the item? What if it is signed by double, triple or even quradruple the amount of signatures of the other petition? What will Target do in such a scenario? Does majority still rule? This can now become a social experiment? I may create the petition myself.

Posted:A year ago

#39

Haven Tso Web-based Game Reviewer

259 12 0.0
Why so peeved about it? A company deciding whether to sell a piece of content is also a reflection of freedom in the society. It is only when a government pass legislation to ban certain piece of content that it is a debate in freedom of expression. If Target and KMart don't want to sell it that is their choice. It is just the same as certain places didn't want to sell PSP Go and BlackBerry phones.

Posted:A year ago

#40

Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design

338 779 2.3
@Haven Tso
The issue is not that the companies don't sell them. The issue is the petition that caused it.

Posted:A year ago

#41

Haven Tso Web-based Game Reviewer

259 12 0.0
@ Brook That is also an exercise of freedom just like other people petitioning against other things. I don't think it is an issue. You put out a product, some people don't like it and petition against it, a company or two decided not to sell it - they are all exercising freedom of speech and action. Nobody's asking them to stop making it because they have the freedom to make them as others have the freedom to not sell them.

Posted:A year ago

#42

Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing

684 446 0.7
@Marty

That policy is obviously constructed to close loopholes on weapons, and was not created in response to an epidemic of kitchen implement murders supplied by ebay purchases. People who are attracted to such things have a long history of "I am a spring salesman. If this spring and it's accessories happen to fit perfectly in an AR-15 to enable full automatic fire, that's a total coincidence" And even in the event it was backed by such events, it would still be on firmer ground than these women, because the items were purchased from them, and a direct, definitive cause of harm.

@Nelson

Those petitions are already going. Taking a completely neutral stance, backing down now will cause far more harm than staying the course. Of course, the least harm, and actualwould have been caused by turning this into a huge positive by making some good sized donations to battered women shelters, which, if you note they have not done with the millions they've made from GTA and other similar games already. And I would applaud them for it if they did, because that's taking a real stand, and helping peopleinstead of playing PR

Posted:A year ago

#43

Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design

338 779 2.3
@Haven
You are 100% correct. They certainly do have the right to do so. Just like I also have the right to be rude to other people if I so choose. Just because someone has the right to do something, doesn't mean they should. How is it effecting them if other people buy something they don't like?

Posted:A year ago

#44

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

1,112 1,215 1.1
@Paul @Brook

Both your answer to me, put together, make a good point. So the questions now is other in my head are two:
First: Technically, this people have their right to do this petition, but maybe it was taken too far?
Second: Maybe the shop should have made a stand and said that "Don't like it, don't buy it" like Take-Two said?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Alfonso Sexto on 11th December 2014 10:12am

Posted:A year ago

#45

Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design

338 779 2.3
@Alfonso
The first question, I do agree with. They have the right to do the petition, but I don't really see their point to do so, other than to spite others who may not agree with their opinion. As I said, if they had no plans to buy the game, how does it harm them in any way if it's sold in a particular store? The only reason anyone could want something to stop being sold in a stores is to not allow others to buy it there.
I can understand a petition to take out something from a store that is causing others harm, and maybe selling it there allows to easy access to it. Such as like weapons. We are talking about a video game here though.

The second question ... I agree with. That is the action the shop should have taken. They claimed what they chose to do was in line with what their customers wanted. However, I don't understand how they could know that. Are they seriously trying to say those who play GTA don't shop at their stores lol?

Granted, maybe they chose to do this because they already got most of their sales they could have gotten from the game.

Posted:A year ago

#46

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

1,219 2,667 2.2
@Paul @Brook
Both your answer to me, put together, make a good point. So the questions now is other in my head are two:
First: Technically, this people have their right to do this petition, but maybe it was taken too far?
I have no problem with upset people complaining about something. We all do it all the time, though maybe not in public. But there are two things to consider:
1) The petition is full of inaccuracy, lack of context, and opinions expressed as if they are facts. It was basically a bogus piece of writing even if you happen to agree with their wider point of view.
2) But then again, they can make a petition to declare that santa claus doesn't exist for all I care, it's up to them really. I just find it disappointing that people can fan flames so readily without checking anything.
Second: Maybe the shop should have made a stand and said that "Don't like it, don't buy it" like Take-Two said?
Yup. The thing I and others are objecting to is that their particular stand had an effect that affects the rest of us. If a person does not like a product, there is nothing to gain by banning it other than with the express aim of inflicting their will on others "just because". No gain at all. And that pisses me off immensely, even though I agree that this particular game isn't exactly the industry's finest hour.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 11th December 2014 12:14pm

Posted:A year ago

#47

Haven Tso Web-based Game Reviewer

259 12 0.0
@Brook - This has become a personal preference or ethical issue. To some people GTA V is an ethical issue because in their eyes promote violence against women. For Rockstar they see publishing GTA V is their rights of artistic expression and they answer to no one's ethical preference. Both sides are exercising their rights and we need to use the same objective measures to look at the situation. In this situation, Rockstar is upset because after they exercise their rights to publish GTA V, they consider someone is challenging their rights by petitioning against them without thinking of these groups of people and companies also have the rights to express they don't like certain things and considered them offensive. There are no violations of rights but mutual exchanges in exercising the same rights. If Rockstar is upset by Target and Kmart's decisions, other people have the same rights about being upset with their products and not selling their products.

Posted:A year ago

#48

Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design

338 779 2.3
@Haven
"GTA V is an ethical issue because in their eyes promote violence against women."
The issue with that is it isn't true. It isn't fact. It's misleading to say that. It doesn't matter what they think if it isn't true.

Posted:A year ago

#49

Haven Tso Web-based Game Reviewer

259 12 0.0
@Brook - That is behold from the eyes of the developer and other people who see it that way. if we are saying video game is an art form it cannot avoid subjective scrutiny. Just like any artist it will be interpreted and seen in different ways by applying personal experience and values on to them. It is not an ethical issue the moment Rockstar claimed it is GTA is an artistic expression and product of artistic freedom because it opens the product up to subjective valuation. In this case. a group of people don't like it, they asked shops to pull it. The shops looked at their target customer demography and decided to pull it, That is a business decision, very objective and clear. Is it based on subjective views of others? Yes. Is it unethical? No. Would customers be worse off? Not exactly because they can still get the product from thousands of other outlets and they are not Target and Kmart's target customers anyway. Is it debatable? Yes - hence this threat. Is it the end of GTA V or Target or Kmart? No. Would the world or society be worse off? No because there will still be GTA games, Target and Kmart might or might not stock it and the world moves on.

Posted:A year ago

#50

Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design

338 779 2.3
@Haven
You still miss the point though. It doesn't matter how other perceive this or what their opinion is. It still shouldn't have effect on other people. My opinion should hold no barrings on you or anyone else. The fact this was allowed, tells people it's ok to do this sort of thing, and it isn't.

Is that really ok to you, for people to be able to force their opinion down your throat? You would not care?

Posted:A year ago

#51

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,976 2,267 1.1
You still miss the point though. It doesn't matter how other perceive this or what their opinion is
It shouldn't matter. But it does. This is because of how society works, and how some people "care" more than others. I use the quote-marks there, because it's essentially down to subjective interpretation of what other people consume, and can be seen in everything - the new UK anti-porn laws, the ratings guides for films, what books libraries stock. Look at something someone else uses or consumes, and you will probably find someone else saying it's bad for them and shouldn't happen.

I'll say here, btw, that I entirely agree with you. But it's sadly not how the world is.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 12th December 2014 7:28am

Posted:A year ago

#52

Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design

338 779 2.3
@Morville
Alright .. point taken lol. You are certainly correct in that. It shouldn't matter, but it does. I always forget how things in life are not how they logically should be rofl.

Posted:A year ago

#53

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